When asked if there was any way he could’ve convinced Harden to stay in Brooklyn, Durant saw the circumstances surrounding his knee, Kyrie Irving’s status as a part-time player, and Harden’s age as the primary factors why his former teammate decided to move on.
“I mean, when you look at it, try to look at it from his perspective. You look up, Kai’s not playing, and then I’m injured, he hasn’t won a championship before. So he’s looking at it he’s 32-years-old — looking at himself, wanted to make a decision to get on a team that can get him that: contending, being one of the last teams standing. So you look at from his perspective from his perspective, you just say it is what it is.”
The Nets’ Big 3 only played 16 games in the season and a half they played together, going 13-3 during that time. The only thing that truly held them back was unavailability, whether that was from an injury or city-wide mandate. The superteam experiment in Brooklyn will go down as one of the biggest “What Ifs” in NBA history.
When Lewis asked Irving a similar question, the enigmatic point guard kept it cordial about Harden.
“If that’s what James wanted then I respect his decision. That’s just what it is,” Irving said after the Nets’ 132-121 over the Hornets, per the New York Post. “I wish him nothing but peace and love.
We have a great friendship, but it didn’t work out. Wish things could have been communicated better for all of us as men, but hey, no hard feelings here with me or anything else.”
The Nets (33-33) are eighth in the Eastern Conference playoff picture and are only two games back from the seventh-place Raptors (34-30). The 76ers (40-24) have lost once since acquiring Harden at the trade deadline as they look to take over the No.1 seed in the East from the Heat (44-22).